Susan Leopold MSW, RSW, RP, MPS, Expressive Arts Therapist
"Disasters catapult people into experiences beyond ordinary reality. " -Gita Morena, The Wisdom of Oz.
Do you wish things were different? Congratulations on taking this brave step forward on your path in life. As a psychotherapist, my role is to create a safe space in which to support you in this journey. My strong belief in the benefits of psychodynamic psychotherapy emerged from my own personal experience, beginning as a client and later leading me to work with others as a psychotherapist.
I am a clinically trained Registered Psychotherapist and Registered Social Worker with master level degrees from the Pratt Institute and Smith College. I specialize in psychodynamic therapy (often referred to as ‘talk therapy’) and creative therapies (using non -verbal form of expression). I have devoted my career to working with children, youth and adults affected by trauma. My extensive clinical experience includes the Hincks-Dellcrest Center for Childrens Mental Health, York University Personal Counselling Services, Catholic Family Services Toronto and an in-patient eating disorder expressive arts group at University Health Network, all in Toronto.
I work with diverse clients facing life's transitions and challenges, and some of my areas of specialization, as listed under my profile picture, are grief, self-esteem, trauma and anxiety. My theoretical framework is relational, using both talk therapy and/or creative/expressive arts. My practice is client driven stemming from my belief that each client’s needs, experience and history are unique. Following your lead, I listen/witness and attune carefully in order to attend to your specific need. We start with where you are most comfortable, which means that talking, imagery, sand, art, dream work and actual silence are all welcome.
The path to healing, wellness and imaginative growth is often facilitated through re-connecting with your unique creative process. Working flexibly with you, between short or long term talk therapy (psychodynamic psychotherapy) and expressive/creative arts, my focus is on staying close to what you bring to our work in the co-created and safe therapeutic studio space.
Once we have decided to work together, we will learn your present concerns, goals, future hopes/goals and also leave space for you to ask any questions you may have. Then we will formulate a way to achieve them. In the following sessions, you will start wherever you feel most comfortable and follow your lead. This will establish safety and trust in your work. We take the time needed for that to occur and move at a pace that allows you to feel comfortable.
What about adding Creative Art Therapy?
Usually we start with a check-in conversation, talking about whatever you would like to talk about; perhaps your week or a review of the last session. Some sessions you might want to get right into the art making and not talk. Both ways of working are welcome, because we start with wherever you are right now.
Depending on what you want to work on, you might choose to work following your own instincts as to topic/themes and choice of art materials ( sand, musical instruments, movement ). You might choose a specific theme to work on or continue exploring a theme from the previous session. Alternatively, I might offer you an art directive, prompt or specific art media, when you wish to explore an issue more deeply and feel the directive would support your art making process. There is an art table with a variety of materials for you to explore and experiment with and you are free to choose what feels right for you. During your art making process you might choose to continue talking or choose to work in silence, both ways of working are welcome.
Afterwards we will look at the art together and you are welcome to share (or not share) whatever you feel comfortable sharing, i.e. what you notice, what surprises you, or maybe how the art making process was for you, any ideas, thoughts or feelings or challenges that came up in your process. No artistic training or art background is necessary because we focus on the creative process.
Please feel free to contact me using my email or through my Therapy Toronto phone number, to set up a free consultation to discuss your needs. My office is a bright studio space located, in the Toronto Distillery District: here's a map near the Balzac Coffee Roastery.
I invite you to contact me and wish you all the best on your path forward to health and wellness.
All my best, Susan
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